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Men's Ice Hockey January Recap

Harvard's Colin Blackwell netted the game-tying goal versus Dartmouth as the Crimson closed out January on a five-game unbeaten streak (Courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications/Gil Talbot).

PRINCETON -- With all six Ivy League men’s hockey teams having played at least six of 10 Ivy games, the race for the 2012 Ivy League men’s ice hockey championship is beginning to come into focus.

Though closing out the month by dropping a pair of games to Colgate, Cornell had a strong showing in January to take control in the Ivy standings and move to second in the ECAC Hockey standings as well. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown all remain mathematically in the 2012 Ivy title hunt entering February.

The Feb. 3 showdown between the Big Green and Princeton is the only Ivy-Ivy matchup of this weekend’s ECAC Hockey slate and if Dartmouth does not beat Princeton, the Big Green would be eliminated from Ivy title contention. The following weekend features a pair of Ivy games that could determine where the 2012 Ivy title ultimately ends up as Cornell plays host to Brown on Feb. 10 and then welcomes Yale on Feb. 11. With a win against the Bears, Cornell would clinch at least a share of the 2012 title while any combination of three points over the two games would give the Big Red the outright title.

In the most recent rankings, Cornell is 14th in the Jan. 30 release of the USCHO.com poll, while Harvard is receiving votes. In the Jan. 30 edition of the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Cornell also checks in at 14th.

When just taking Ivy League games into account, Harvard junior defenseman Danny Biega leads the Ivy in scoring on two goals and 10 assists in eight games play. Cornell freshman forward Brian Ferlin is second (5-6-11), while Yale senior forward Brian O'Neill ranks third (4-6-10). 

In terms of national statistics, several Ivy League teams and players are putting together impressive seasons. In fact, three of the top-10 power play units can be found in the League including top-ranked Harvard (31.1 percent), sixth-ranked Yale (23.9) and 10th-ranked Princeton (22.7).

On the individual level, Yale’s O’Neill is tied for fourth in the nation with eight power-play goals on the season. Cornell junior defenseman Nick D'Agostino is tied for fourth with five game-winning goals on the season, while Brown senior forward Jack Maclellan is one off of D'Agostino’s pace as his four game-winning tallies tie him for seventh in the nation. Harvard’s Biega ranks second in defenseman scoring per game in the country with a 1.14 points per game pace on five goals and 19 assists.

The Ivy teams also enter February battling for the 2012 ECAC Hockey regular-season title and playoff positioning. For the 10th year, the 2012 ECAC Men’s Hockey Championship will feature 12 teams and be held over three weekends, beginning on March 2-4 with six best-of-three series taking place at campus sites. The 2012 semifinal and championship games will then be played on March 16 and 17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.  

Brown
The Bears are currently sixth in the Ivy League (2-4-0) standings and tied for ninth in ECAC Hockey (5-7-2) … with Ivy games remaining at Cornell (Feb. 10), versus Harvard and Dartmouth (Feb. 17-18) and closing the regular-season at Princeton (Feb. 25), Brown could still get to 12 points in the Ivy standings … the Bears went 4-4-2 in January, but have dropped three of their last four games … Brown returns to action next weekend when it hosts Clarkson and St. Lawrence in a pair of ECAC Hockey contests Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Cornell
The Big Red stand in first in the Ivy standings (5-1-2) and second in ECAC Hockey (8-3-3) … Cornell returns to Ivy play on Feb. 10-11 when it plays host to Brown and Yale … a win over either team would clinch at least a share of the 2012 Ivy League title, while three or four points would give Cornell its first Ivy title since 2005 and its 19th overall dating back to 1956 … the Big Red’s midseason push came on the strength of a seven game unbeaten streak that began on Dec. 30 and lasted until this past weekend (4-0-3) … most recently Cornell fell to Colgate on back-to-back nights, 2-1 and 5-3 on Jan. 27 and 28 … Cornell will be back on national television at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 when its visit to Rensselaer appears on NBC Sports Network, then the Big Red battles Union the following night.

Dartmouth
The Big Green are tied for third in the Ivy standings (2-3-2) and tied for sixth in ECAC Hockey (6-6-2) … the Big Green went 3-4-1 in Jan. ... Dartmouth most recently tied Harvard, 2-2, on Jan. 31 … in the tie versus the Crimson, freshman Brandon McNally and junior Alex Goodship scored second period goals 18 seconds apart to stake the Big Green to a 2-0 lead and senior Jody O'Neill came up with 26 saves in the Dartmouth net … the Big Green could reach 12 points in the Ivy standings … Dartmouth returns with a weekend road swing at Princeton and at Quinnipiac on Feb. 3 and 4.

Harvard
The Crimson are second in the Ivy standings with nine points (3-2-3) and are tied for third in ECAC Hockey (5-4-7) … Harvard went 2-2-5 in January and are currently riding a five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3) … the Crimson closed out Jan. with a 2-2 tie versus Ivy foe Dartmouth on Jan. 31 in which freshman Colin Blackwell scored a power play goal at 13:36 of the third period to complete Harvard’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit … Harvard could get to 13 points in the Ivy League standings … the Crimson play at Quinnipiac on Feb. 3 before taking on Boston Univ. at the TD Garden in game one of the 2012 Beanpot on Feb. 6.

Princeton
The Tigers are fifth in the Ivy standings (2-4-1) and tied for ninth in ECAC Hockey (5-8-2) … Princeton went 3-1-1 in Jan. … most recently, the Tigers returned from their exam break with a 4-3 home win over Connecticut on Jan. 31, coming back from a 3-1 first period deficit, capped by sophomore Andrew Calof’s two third period goals … the Tigers play host to Dartmouth in an Ivy League showdown on Feb. 3 and then round out their Ivy slate on Feb. 24 and 25 with a pair of home games versus Yale and Brown.

Yale
The Bulldogs are third in the Ivy standings (3-3-0) and are eighth in the ECAC Hockey (6-7-1) standings … with four games left on the Ivy portion of its schedule, Yale could still reach 14 points in the League standings and remains in contention for a fourth consecutive Ivy League Championship … Yale posted a 3-5-1 record in Jan., including a come-from-behind, 5-4 win at Dartmouth to close out the month on Jan. 28 … Kenny Agostino's goal with 34.8 seconds gave Yale the win … the Bulldogs play host to St. Lawrence and Clarkson this weekend and open next weekend at Colgate before returning to Ivy League play for four-straight games, beginning with a contest at Cornell on Feb. 11.